That it be an instruction to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage that, during its consideration of Bill C-11, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts, the committee be granted the power to travel throughout Canada to hear testimony from interested parties and that the necessary staff do accompany the committee, provided that the travel does not exceed 10 sitting days.
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague from Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke for seconding what I believe to be a very important motion.
As members are aware, Motion No. 16 was presented today. It is basically a draconian way of dealing with issues and matters of the House by the government. It is a way of stifling debate. It is a way of silencing the voices of millions of Canadians who sent their elected representatives here to Ottawa.
Bill C-11 has been universally panned, for lack of a better word, by content creators and others who are concerned about censorship on the Internet and concerned about content creation. We heard this morning the member for Perth—Wellington give a very good description of some of the concerns with this bill.
Effectively, what Motion No. 16 has done is basically taken the work out of the hands of the committee on this extremely important bill. The government is ramming it through, with the help of its NDP partners, in order to get it passed through Parliament without addressing many of the concerns that are being brought up by those who, as I said earlier, are expressing significant concerns about issues related to censorship.
I have been hearing from my constituents on this. Over the last two or three days, Canadians have become increasingly engaged on this issue. They are finding out what is going on.
Similar to a previous iteration of this bill, Bill C-10, Canadians are concerned. In fact, I would suggest they are more concerned about what is going with Bill C-11 and the impact it is going to have on their ability to see what is on the Internet and produce what is on the Internet. There are concerns, as we heard, as to the power the bill gives the government and the censorship role it gives to the government. It contributes, in my opinion, even more to what we see as a decline in democracy here in Canada, whereby millions of voices, including the Speaker's voice, is silenced as a result of draconian measures.
What this motion would do is allow the committee to travel across the country to hear from those who it has not heard from before. This motion is important because the Conservative opposition has said we are not going to agree to committee travel. The motion highlights the importance of hearing from those in Canada who are extremely concerned about this bill and the censorship it can create. It would allow the committee to do its work, function properly and hear the voices that are being silenced in this place. “Parliament” comes from parler, or “to speak”, yet we are being silenced on this bill.
There is another interesting part to this. I have been watching closely the deliberations at the heritage committee and have been speaking to our shadow minister of heritage about the level of dysfunction that has been created as a result of the chair of the committee not coming to Ottawa and being on Zoom. It speaks to the overall dysfunction of this place. Hybrid Parliament is having such a tremendous impact on the ability of the committees to do their work, and there are health implications for the people who work here, namely the interpreters.
In my opinion, it is time for hybrid Parliament to end. We need to get back to normal. That forms the basis of every argument we have been making in this place.
I am moving this motion in the hopes that we can allow the committee to have its deliberations and speak to Canadians who are concerned about government censorship and the impact this bill will have. We need the support of Parliament to allow the committee to do its job.